Article 21 of Indian constitution defines ‘Right to live’, which over time evolved to include the very fundamental necessity to live, that is a clean toxic pollution free environment.
We all should learn how to remove both chemical and social pollutants of the society in order to defend our right to live, as over time it is becoming pretty clear on which side the state is inclined to support.
The recent developments in Toothukodi, Tamil Nadu over Sterlite Copper Plant is infuriating and disturbing. At this age if any industry is causing pollution, it is not due to lack of knowledge. It is purely out of their greed and lack of concern to the environment and people at large.
This is a reason why active citizen science is the need of the hour, not just to ‘appreciate the wonders of natural world’ but also to ‘breathe fresh air, have good food and drink clean water’.
We have plethora of very viable technology like ion exchange, that can remove the pollutants like Arsenic, Mercury, Lead, Cadmium. Yup, these are among the main current day rogue elements that cause the newly spreading urban cancer epidemic.
For example, there is a simple option or treating water with bio char, which has the property of adsorbing arsenic. (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/11/141103142207.htm)
And there are algaes that can remove cadmium and lead. Is growing algae expensive ?
All the above information was obtained by doing just one web search. Metal removal is thankfully not rocket science, it is elegantly simple and fascinating for someone who is paid to do this as their job.
So the root cause lies in the company’s lack of interest in welfare of the people. Let us also not neglect the fact that the industry has been continually serving our demands for more and more copper over the course of time, and thus has also played a role in the overall benefit. It might have also served the ‘strategic projects’ which helps us prevent attacks from other not-so-friendly neighbor states.
BUT WHAT IS THE POINT IF THE WHOLE PLANT WHICH GENERATES THE RAW MATERIAL IS ITSELF A LEAKY MONSTER MACHINE THAT SPEWS OUT TOXIC WASTE AND KILL LOCAL PEOPLE ?
Being super rich and playing ‘strategic role for the national welfare’ seems to grant them a higher level right. “The Right to Pollute and Kill”.
Is there then any difference between the industry, our state and the ‘enemy state’? Yes there is.
The enemy across the border is generally a brainwashed person who grew up seeing us as their enemy, just the way we are brainwashed to see them so. Whereas the company and the state institutes are supposed to be our own kith and kin! They are the ones gaining from the efforts of the nearby population, and by carelessly/apathetically/arrogantly releasing excess of pollution they are committing both crime and betrayal.
Also the government, as in, the whole system of governance in the name of Tamil Nadu and India needs to introspect on letting its representatives play an active role in supporting crony capitalists and suppressing common concerned citizens.
In as much, the first step we can do is to defend ourselves by learning how to remove the pollutants from our water streams and collectively make sure that we don’t contribute to the pollutants due to our own special rights, like, “the right to dump toxic wastes in public places ( like CFLs, batteries, LEDs, sanitary napkins, diapers, rotting food, plastics etc )” and the “right to segregate people on the basis of caste and class and enforce sanitation work on them without proper salary, training and tools”.
Along with industrial plants, there are also other sources of arsenic like pesticides in farm and automobile
With active tie ups with local pathology labs, research centres, schools and colleges we can collectively make sure than no toxic chemical rogue element affect our ‘Right to Live’.
As for the social rogue elements, it seems more complicated than rocket science. But willingness to change from the current system is needed. And it needs collective effort, mutual aid and long term dedication for establishing new non-hierarchical system that can be self-regulating.
In solidarity with the concerned citizens of Toothukudi.